Hospice: Compassionate Care at the End of Life
When you or someone you love is facing a limited life expectancy, it can be a deeply challenging time for everyone.
The end of a life can be an emotional and spiritual journey for the whole family—not an easy experience while taking care of many practical needs at the same time.
Approaching the end of life can be difficult, but it's also a normal, natural process that can be peaceful, profound, and even joyful with the right support.
Definition: What is hospice care?
Hospice is a compassionate philosophy of care and an interdisciplinary set of services designed to support patients and families through the end-of-life process. Addressing the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of a patient and their family at the end of life, hospice focuses on pain relief and symptom management to provide dignity and quality of life at the end of life.
Hospice services may include:
Where is hospice care provided?
Hospice is not a place; it is a service that can be provided wherever you call home. For some, that may be a private residence or family home. For others, it may be a nursing home or assisted living facility.
How can hospice care help?
Hospice professionals are specially educated and trained to provide comprehensive, interdisciplinary end-of-life services customized to meet the client's and family's needs and wishes. Overseen by a medical director, an individual's hospice care team works collaboratively with the patient to identify their personal goals, create an individualized plan of care, and coordinate and provide practical, emotional, medical, social, and spiritual support for the patient, family, caregivers, and other loved ones.
Hospice services focus on people and their meaningful time together, enabling patients to live the rest of their lives with dignity and comfort wherever they call home. As part of the care plan, hospice can bring sources of joy into the home, facilitate wish fulfillment, give family caregivers needed breaks (known as respite care), and facilitate important conversations about end-of-life planning decisions such as choosing a power of attorney, writing a will, or expressing the patient's health care wishes in an advance directive.